WARNING: This story details sexual abuse that may be upsetting.
By Sobia Moman
Listeners are taken on a journey through singer Auroara Leigh’s traumatic childhood in her debut album.
Abuse, addiction and healing are the main themes in Leigh’s first album, called Feel It To Heal It. The album features 11 tracks. Her passion for creating healing for herself and others is heavily influenced by Leigh’s Métis background.
From Fort St. James, Leigh had a traumatic childhood which she shares in her music for all to hear.
“I care about sharing my story because I matter, then other people should share their story because they matter,” she said.
Where her story initially began as a book, Leigh pivoted to writing out her story in song.
“It’s how I reveal myself without my armor,” she said.
In her home at the age of one, Leigh was sexually abused by a family member at the time, for six years. Her thoughts and emotions on the molestation can be heard on track six, Black Eyes In My Head.
Leigh was seven years old at the time her mother found out about the abuse, and was then homeschooled until she was 14. She felt isolated during this time because she was often alone and did not have any mentors to guide her.
“Through the hardest times in my life, singing kept me connected to myself, to my heart. I didn’t have other figures to soothe me so I was doing that for myself,” she said. “I was just sad, I wanted parents that cared about me.”
Creating the album took a lot of courage for Leigh, as well as time. The process was ongoing for three years. Eventually going through with the release was not an easy feat, instead came with much hesitancy.
The writing process was therapeutic, but also triggering, Leigh said. She would go through periods of time where the memories were too haunting, thus making her take week-long breaks from writing.
“Pushing through with my album has helped me be more free with living,” Leigh said.
While she was sexually abused, Leigh was taught to not speak about the things that she experienced.
“I was holding myself back in fear of my abuser finding me, of being too out there and getting hurt again,” she said.
The birth of her now 12-year-old daughter was a pivotal point for Leigh as she wanted her child’s youth to not reflect her own.
Alcoholism and abuse are very prevalent issues in her family. The cycles of addiction and abuse needed to come to an end, she said.
“It’s possible to rewire cycles. I have changed the cycles. I can say with pride that my daughter did not have the first seven years of my life.”
Another very personal song on Feel It To Heal It is called Traffic Jam which brings attention to Leigh’s experience being sold into sex trafficking as a teenager by a former boyfriend.
Leigh’s music touches on many dark themes, which she says “might strike a nerve, but that’s the point.”
Because of the sexual trauma Leigh was burdened with because of her experiences, she entered a stage in her life where she did everything in her power to not be perceived as a sexual being. This was reflective of the blame she put on herself for what others did to her and became a way to protect herself, Leigh said.
Along with being healing for herself, the album posed as a similar outlet for Leigh’s mom and their relationship together. It did not start out this way, however, the support from her mother did eventually come.
Through their restorative relationship, Leigh was able to see how her experiences as a child affected her mom as well. She was able to recognize that her mother was a victim of her family member’s manipulation.
Leigh is working on her second album which is made up of soothing songs. Although this theme is much different from her first, she says that the two will work together.
The first is about acknowledging the trauma and the second will be about healing it, Leigh said.
She wants to bring her music as a remedy to her small town because she is not the only one who has struggled, she said.